Will Republicans Go Nuclear? Neil Gorsuch Confirmation Showdown Kicks Off

Spike Lee  Instagram

Spike Lee Instagram

Grassley drew criticism throughout a year ago for refusing to hold a Judiciary Committee hearing for President Obama's nominee to fill the vacancy created in February of 2016 when Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died.

Jennifer Sisk, a Denver attorney who took a class taught by Gorsuch at University of Colorado law school, wrote to Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) claiming that Gorsuch said firms should engage in illegal and sexist hiring practices.

"I'm kind of a fan of Supreme Court hearings", said Jeffrey Rosen, president of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. The new push came as the Senate Judiciary Committee today also began their hearings to consider President Trump's pick to the nation's highest court.

In his opening statement, Grassley quoted the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the importance of separation of powers, which gives power to the Bill of Rights.

"Senate Republicans made a big show past year about respecting the voice of the American people in this process", he said, referring to Trump's election victory.

On the first point, if the Dems spend their time asking Gorsuch softball questions about his judicial philosophy and position on constitutional law, it will be a clear sign that they are not going to oppose his nomination.

Gorsuch's nomination is of particular importance to Cruz, who fought Trump to the bitter end in the presidential race and for months declined to endorse the GOP nominee.

Past Supreme Court decisions to strike down bans on gay sex and legalize same-sex marriage were based on an evolving view of who is protected by the Constitution, the letter continues.

Graham, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, referred to the unanimous confirmation vote the late Justice Antonin Scalia received in 1986 and the almost unanimous vote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg received in 1993. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the committee, immediately making clear her frustration about the Republican-led Senate refusing to hold hearings past year for her party's pick - Judge Merrick Garland - to the fill the open Supreme Court seat.

The most recent justice not confirmed was Merrick Garland.

Republicans control the Senate and they can change the chamber's rules to make it easier to confirm Mr Gorsuch if any attempt is made to block him.

"President Trump could nominate would they support", Ms. Ayotte said on Fox News.

But Mr Cornyn praised Mr Gorsuch for following the law "where it leads, that's how the rule of law works", whether that meant rulings for employees or employers, or whether they were pro- or anti-government.

Obama nominated Garland, the chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, for the role in March, but Senate Republicans refused to give him a confirmation hearing, in hopes of their party taking back the White House - and their gamble paid off when Trump won. Now, Republicans on this committee are guilty of their own 'court un-packing scheme, ' " said Sen.

In 2013, then Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid went nuclear to prevent filibusters on cabinet nominees and lower court judges. Within two weeks Trump announced Gorsuch as his nominee, and now, just seven weeks later he is about to face his first Senate hearing.

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